Plenty of punches were thrown between the two as they challenged each other’s records and positions on hot-button issues.
Republican candidate Dixon’s campaign has been unable to fundraise and is at a serious cash disadvantage compared to incumbent Democrat Whitmer. Thursday night was an opportunity for Dixon to showcase herself, and she did just that, as she appeared well prepared and was on the attack for the entire hour of the debate.
“In her first answer, she’s already being dishonest,” Dixon said. “This is obviously going be a theme for the night.”
“I think it’s really ironic when Mrs. Dixon stands here and says she will accept the vote, the will of the people,” Whitmer said. “This is a candidate who still denies the outcome of the 2020 election. This is a candidate who will not pledge to accept the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.”
Both Whitmer and Dixon went back and forth all night lobbing haymakers.
“What a debacle to have $8.5 billion fraudulently sent out,” Dixon said. “Now I’ve got people bringing bills from the state up to me, begging me to help forgive the unemployment that she’s trying to get out of.”
“She is too dangerous and too out of touch to be trusted with protecting our kids,” Whitmer said. “She’ll put the second amendment before second graders every time. We cannot let that happen.”
“We know the governor came out and said she supports the spirit of the defend the police,” Dixon said. “In fact, when we were all locked down, she went out and marched with folks and held up signs that said ‘defund the police.’”
“My opponent is long on rhetoric and short on facts, and that’s OK,” Whitmer said. “I’ve got to tell you as a former prosecutor, I have sat with our law enforcement, I have worked arm and arm with them. That’s what the budgets I’ve written have been focused on supporting.”
Dixon came into Grand Rapids feeling the pressure, as if her campaign depended on it. Although she turned in a strong performance Thursday night, so did Whitmer.
The next gubernatorial debate is scheduled for Oct. 25.